Dunlop provides mid-season round-up
BTCC title sponsor and official tyre supplier, Dunlop, has assessed the opening half of the 2017 campaign as it looks at the title shake up, #ForeverForward, compound stats and the recent Snetterton test…
- Defending champion Shedden leads at the mid-way point
- Nine winners from 15 races
- All specs of tyres used
- Neal underlines tenacity to lead Dunlop #ForeverForward
- Mid-season test proves tyres in extreme conditions
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is half way through it’s summer break in a season shaping up to be another thrilling encounter. Nine different drivers have climbed the top step of the podium, a further five others joining them on the rostrum across the 15 races.
Defending champion Gordon Shedden went into the mid-season break ninth last year and fought back to take the title at the very last race. This year the Honda racer holds an 11 point advantage over Rob Collard, with double champion Colin Turkington a further one point back.
The season has once again marked a number of milestones, notably Matt Neal equalling Andy Rouse’s 60 BTCC wins, 35 shy of Jason Plato’s record, when he led a Honda 1-2-3 at Thruxton. Thruxton also marked an impressive event for BMW with Collard and Turkington collecting wins 99 and 100 for the German marque, while at Croft, Turkington claimed West Surrey Racing’s 75th BTCC win, their 50th with BMW – ten years after his first win at the North Yorkshire track.
Thruxton marked the appearance of Dunlop’s Sport Maxx Hard option tyre, where the winter development, together with increased tyre size provided increased performance on the most demanding circuit on the calendar. The hard tyre was also the option for Croft, which saw Ash Sutton the only driver in the top 14 to use in race one as he recorded his second win of the year. The soft option tyres have also been used successfully, all three winners at Oulton Park selecting that as their option tyre across the three races.
- Aiden Moffat took his first ever BTCC win at Donington Park
- Matt Neal took his 60th win at Thruxton to equal the previous record of most BTCC driver wins ever, held by Andy Rouse
- Aiden Moffat made his 100th race start in the BTCC at Thruxton
- Colin Turkington claimed BMW’s 100th BTCC win at Thruxton
- Turkington took a record 12th win at Croft, WSR’s 75th BTCC win and his 50th with BMW – ten years after his first win at Croft
- Nine different drivers have climbed the top step of the podium
- There have been 14 different podium finishers
- Only Turkington has claimed three wins in 2017
- Every race winner across the Oulton Park weekend was running Dunlop Option-Soft tyres
BTCC points after round 15
Matt Neal’s fightbacks put him atop the #ForeverForward Award
The Dunlop #ForeverForward Award rewards drivers for their determination and fightbacks from adversity, the overtaking league focusing on the battles through the field with one point awarded for every position gained. This year’s table has a distinctly unusual look about it, with triple champion Matt Neal topping the points after five rounds. The Honda Yuasa racer is without question one of the best touring car drivers on the 2017 grid, and his fightbacks at Brands Hatch, Thruxton and Croft are testament to his undoubted skill, as he also lies sixth overall in the BTCC.
- Four drivers have taken #ForeverForward weekend honours, Matt Neal x 2, Colin Turkington, Tom Chilton, and Ashley Sutton
- The highest number of overtaking moves in one race (23) was recorded by Colin Turkington in race two at Brands Hatch
- Ash Sutton has the highest number of overtaking moves across a weekend with a staggering 31 places at Donington Park
- A total of 1328 places have been gained across the five rounds
Overall #ForeverForward standings after round 5
Dunlop tyres undergo extreme weather tests at Snetterton
The now traditional two-day tyre test at Snetterton allowed the teams and drivers the opportunity to get some valuable track time ahead of the next round of the championship in Norfolk.
The Dunlop tyre test took place on 5&6 July, with varying track conditions and temperatures greeting the 30 cars and drivers. Wednesday track temperatures exceeded 40 degrees and allowed all cars the opportunity to test the prime and option Sport Maxx tyres. Thursday concluded with a typically British shower that interrupted proceedings around lunchtime, but provided the chance for wet weather running on Dunlop’s Blu Response tyres.
“The opening day of testing at Snetterton was held in incredibly dry, hot conditions with track temperatures exceeding 40 degrees. The tyres performed well, they’re designed to operate within a large operating window so that wasn’t an issue. However, there were several variations in the track so performance was not consistent. The tests are valuable as they allow us to carry out evaluations, as well as offering additional track time for the next race.” said Mickey Butler, Dunlop Motorsport.